Dr Anna Vella

Dr Anna Vella

E-mail:            avella3@go.net.mt / anna-maria.a.vella@gov.mt Office:             Substance Misuse Out Patients Unit: Sedqa

                          St Luke’s Hospital


Nationality:     Maltese

Academic Curriculum

2010- To date: Since October 2010 I am reading a PhD on a part time basis with King’s College London. My research is about The Effects of Maternal Opioids on the unborn child from 0 to 3 years. I did a 10 year retrospective study to examine the effect of opioids on delivery and on the neonatal status. At present I am doing a 3 year longitudinal study to examine the effects of maternal opioids on children from 0 to 3 years. This hopefully will be ground breaking work, as in Malta all substance misusing mothers have been followed by me for the past 15 years, a rare situation to be found overseas. The study, although very laborious, includes all subjects exposed to opioids and not only a representative sample.

September 2007 - September 2010: Masters Degree in Bioethics: St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London, UK. The thesis was entitled: Whose Autonomy: The Substance Misusing Mother or her Unborn Child? Research about medical law was done. Different cases in UK, Canada and Australia were studied so as to see how Mental Capacity, patient’s Autonomy and Substance Misuse were judged. The study highlighted the fact that substance misusing pregnant women need support and help before being judged incapable of caring for their children.


September 2004 and June 2005: Post-graduate Diploma from the University of Dublin, Ireland, in Women’s Health. This diploma helped me study in more depth female medical problems which was vital for me to start the Well Women Clinic at the Substance Misuse Unit.

September 1998 and October 2000: Masters Degree in Public Health at the University of Malta together with the University of Nottingham. The thesis was about the Impact of Health Promotion on Human Immunodeficiency Virus among Drug Misusers in Malta. This study tried to answer the question: Why was it that in Malta at the time we had 45% of Intra Venous Drug Users (IVDU’s) who were Hep C positive and there were no HIV positive patients as was the case in most of Europe? It transpired that among the IVDU’s there was poor knowledge of HIV transmission. Therefore our low HIV rate was not due to good prevention methods. All that was needed was a pool of HIV positive IVDU’s and the infective disease would spread just like Hep C.

February 1981- February 1985: At the University of Malta, Msida: Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and successfully passed all the tests and examinations up to the third year inclusive.


October 1985-July 1992: At the University of Perugia Italy: Graduated and obtained the Degree of Doctor in Medicine and Surgery. The thesis was about The Role of Screening in Preneoplastic and Neoplastic Lesions of the Cervix, which had been studied in the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the University of Perugia.


Working Curriculum

July 1997 to date: After I obtained my Medical Warrant, I started working with Sedqa as a Medical Officer. In this post I have shown particular interest in Substance Misusing Pregnant Women and Promiscuous Substance Misusing Women. I have followed screening programs for Sexually Transmitted Diseases and special Detoxification programmes have been tailored for the pregnant women.

October 2000 to date: I have lectured at the University of Malta as a visiting lecturer with various faculties including Laws, Medicine and Surgery, Education, Wellbeing and Health Sciences.